With Real Madrid not in action until their match against Real Betis on Thursday night, top spot was up for grabs.
Villarreal grabbed it, for 24 hours at least, with a 2-0 win at Racing. Turkey striker Nihat Kahveci put the visitors ahead just before the break and Giuseppe Rossi added a second after Racing had been reduced to 10-men following the dismissal of midfielder Aldo Duscher.
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